Former Gov. Haley Barbour (left) and current Gov. Phil Bryant (right) are defendants in the Troupe v. Barbour case, filed on behalf of children who are not receiving mental-health care services the law entitles them to. File Photo/Trip Burns; Imani Khayyam
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is criticizing the U.S. Justice Department for suing the state over adult mental health services.
The Republican calls the lawsuit "another attempt by the federal government to dictate policy to the states through the courts."
The federal lawsuit, filed Thursday, says Mississippi is violating the Americans With Disabilities Act by "unnecessarily and illegally" making mentally ill people go into state-run psychiatric hospitals.
It says the state has failed to provide community-based services that would allow people with mental illnesses to have meaningful interaction with friends and family and to make decisions about work and daily life. It also says life in an institution leads to stigma, isolation and learned helplessness.
Mental health advocates have long pushed for community-based services in a state with a tight budget.
Also see: "The State of Mental Health in Mississippi and read the verbatim statement from the U.S. Department of Justice announcing the lawsuit. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood responds to the lawsuit here.